What Defines a City?

As anyone who's raised an eyebrow upon hearing that Los Angeles is technically more dense than New York can attest, making city-to-city comparisons can be a confounding endeavor. Nate Berg goes in search of a uniform way to define the city.
September 6, 2012, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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According to Berg, a new report from the OECDmay help lead the way to more sensible city comparisons. "In 'Redefining 'Urban': A New Way to Measure Metropolitan Areas,' authors Monica Brezzi, Mario Piacentrini, Konstantin Rosina, Daniel Sanchez-Serra propose the concept of 'functional urban areas' that are based on population density and travel-to-work flows. Basically, it's a measurement of population and interconnected economies."

"The authors of this report argue that their definitions could help to create a standardized concept of urban areas as economic units. They've already applied this methodology to each city in 28 OECD countries with a population greater than 50,000, totaling more than 1,100 cities."

"An internationally recognized definition of urban areas as functional economic units can better guide the way city governments plan infrastructure, transportation, housing and schools, space for culture and recreation," the authors write.

 

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Published on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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